Over the next couple of weeks, you’ll read more about the courses our Program Assistants took during the Fall 2015 semester. Until then, I wanted to share with you a sneak peek of what they had to say about some of the courses that have challenged and inspired them the most this year. As the Kanye West reference above humorously suggests, there are more than 300 SIPA courses to choose from every year (plus an additional 1,000 university wide), so it wasn’t easy for our PAs to write about just one. After reviewing the descriptions below, you’ll see why they selected these particular courses. And they might just inspire you as you finalize your applications for Fall 2016 admission.

Human Rights Skills & Advocacy, taught by Adjunct Associate Professor Jo Becker
“This course is designed to develop advocacy skills to promote human rights. The main focus of the course is developing an advocacy strategy on a current human rights issue of the student’s choice. To create an advocacy strategy, over the length of the course students identify goals, objectives, appropriate advocacy targets, and strategies, and they develop an appropriate research methodology. I have enjoyed the course for several reasons, including the fact that throughout the course we read about and discuss the efficacy and strategies of past human rights campaigns and their use of the media. The course is taught by the advocacy director for Human Rights Watch’s children’s rights division, and hearing from her personal experience has been valuable as well.” —Allison Walker, MIA 2016

International Capital Marketstaught by Professor Richard Robb
“This course gives a solid introduction to the modern international capital markets. The lectures offer a comprehensive view of how the financial crisis unfolded, but are not limited to it. We surveyed global markets for credit issues posed by public and private equity, venture capital, hedge funds, foreign exchange, futures, interest rate swaps, credit default swaps and asset backed securities, etc. In addition, we examined what public policies were/could be designed to mitigate the crisis. This course is taught by the concentration director of International Finance and Economic Policy (IFEP), and it combined a substantial amount of up-to-date information with useful theories.” —Yiting “Elaine” Xu, MPA 2016

Introduction to Conflict Resolution, taught by Adjunct Associate Professor Richard Gowan
“This course is an excellent introduction to the study and practice of conflict resolution, offering students a broad conceptual framework for the field and the discipline. I appreciated the discussion on various, specific cases of conflict (especially given the input from SIPA peers in the class who were from some of the areas currently affected by conflict), and learning how different ideas about conflict resolution influence peacebuilding initiatives in various settings, and can significantly impact the prospects for long-lasting peace. I also appreciated the presence of guest speakers, including several UN staff, and the professor’s attempt to link theory and practice both in teaching and in the assigned work. I had minored in Peace and Conflict Studies in college, so some parts of the course were a bit repetitive for me, but I still found valuable new insights in course materials and interactions.” —Adriana Popa, MIA 2016

Introduction to Political Risk Analysis, taught by Adjunct Assistant Professor Mark Rosenberg and Adjunct Associate Professor Ross Schaap
“This course focus on building a theoretical and empirical foundation to analyze political risk, examine the value of having a structural view for identifying and monitoring political risks, and apply these skills to current, real-world issues. The course explores how political science theory, complemented by other fields, especially economics and political economy, can serve as a basis to study how politics influences a variety of economic concerns including portfolio investment (financial market trading or asset allocation) and fixed investment (corporates). The classes are really hands-on and students weekly discuss current issues that affect political risk around the world. At the end of the semesters students write there own political risk analysis report over a topic and geographical area of their choice.” —Eloy Oliveira, MPA 2016

Mainstreaming Gender in Global Affairs, taught by Adjunct Assistant Professor Kristy Kelly
“This class blends both theoretical and practical in examining how gender is incorporated in macro-level national policies down to organizational policies. The class requires reading on various theories of gender and intersectionality and stimulates active classroom discussion on feminism and masculinity. Practical coursework includes a policy analysis and organizational gender audit. Professor goes above and beyond even teaching a workshop dedicated to ‘gender mainstreaming’ in a training-of-teachers model so that students may then train others.” —Elaine Kubik, MPA-DP 2016

Women and Globalization, taught by Adjunct Professor Laura Sherbin
“This course is a great case based and discussion focused course on women around the world. We have guest lecturers attend many of the classes and these guests share their stories and shed light on many issues facing women throughout the world. Some of the issues that we discuss relate to women’s rights in Asian, religious practices throughout the Middle East and women in finance and tech in America. For each class, we prepare by reading a case and then break out into groups to discuss the readings, our opinions and potential policies that can be implemented to help address issues.

Our class is led by Laura Sherbin, who is an economist and works on issues regarding labor, international development and women in the workforce. Many of my fellow SIPA peers are taking this class to learn about effective ways to implement policies that would address issues of gender in the workforce.” —Dina Ufberg, MIA 2016, MBA 2016

Keep a look out for more insights into the courses our PAs took this year. Some will write about the courses described above, while others will cover completely different courses. So stay tuned! 

And to learn more about all of the courses offered at SIPA, review the SIPA program curricula. And don’t forget about the final MIA, MPA, MPA-DP deadline, which is February 5, 2016.